Sunday, March 15, 2015

Terriers punch ticket to Hockey East Championship weekend; Women's season ends in Wisconsin

Matt O'Connor stopped all 26 shots he faced and assisted on the game-winning goal as the #3-ranked Terriers punched their ticket to next weekend's Hockey East Championship with a 5-0 shutout of the Merrimack College (MC) Warriors.  Cason Hohmann (photo) scored the first and final goals and Jack Eichel had a trio of assists to lead BU's offensive production.  Junior Danny O'Regan added a goal and an assist.

BU opened the scoring early in the second period on a two-on-one shorthanded rush that was initiated by a pass from goaltender Matt O'ConnorCason Hohmann led the rush into the MC zone and sent the puck cross-ice to Jack EichelEichel held onto the puck long enough to neutralize the MC defender, and found a wide-open Hohmann who buried the puck for a 1-0 BU lead.

Less than two minutes later and on a power play, O'Regan found Evan Rodrigues in the high slot.  Rodrigues's wrist shot deflected off the leg of Ahti Oksanen and into the MC net.  That gave the junior from Finland his 23rd goal of the season (good for 5th in D-1 goal-scoring) and BU had a 2-0 lead.

The Terriers would extend their lead to 3-0 in the final minutes of the second period as freshman Brandon Fortunato skated behind the MC net and found O'Regan in the right face-off circle.  The junior from Needham fired a snapshot that found its way through the pads of MC goalie Rasmus Tirronen and BU was well on its way to becoming the only Hockey East playoff team to earn a rest day on Sunday.

After being outshot 24-2 in the second period, MC had its best chances to solve O'Connor in the third period.  Still, BU managed to keep the Warriors off the scoreboard and added two empty-net goals when MC (already on a power play in each instance) pulled Tirronen for a six-on-four skating advantage.  Graduate student Anthony Moccia was brought into the game for the last minute and stopped MC's 27th and final shot of the night. recap  and comprehensive box score  
Video Highlights   
Post-game comments: Coach David Quinn, Grzelcyk/O'Connor  
Daily Free Press recap, Strong second period   
USCHO recap  
HockeyEastOnline recap  
SB Nation recap  
Daily Free Press recap  
Boston Hockey Blog analysis  
Boston Herald article

Looking ahead  
Recently promoted 2016 recruit Clayton Keller scored a goal for the USNTDP U-18s and 2015 recruits Jordan Greenway and Charles McAvoy each registered an assist; but the Chicago Steel prevailed in overtime by a 5-4 margin.

In other USHL action, 2016 recruit Kieffer Bellows (photo) scored the game-winning goal as his Sioux Falls Stampede defeated the Lincoln Stars 3-1.  That was Bellows 28th goal of the year, which puts him 5th among the league leaders.

Looking back
Charlie Coyle assisted on the tying goal as his Minnesota Wild defeated the Saint Louis Blues, 3-1.  The East Weymouth native has 21assists for the season.

Nick Bonino provided his 18th assist of the season as his Vancouver Canucks defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs, 4-1.

Women's Team
The Boston University Women's Ice Hockey team's season came to an end as they lost, 5-1, to the University of Wisconsin in an NCAA quarterfinal playoff game at Madison.  The lone Terrier goal was scored by freshman Victoria Bach (her 20th of the season) and assisted by classmate Rebecca Leslie (her 17th assist of the season).  Sophomore goalie Victoria Hanson had a 40-save (career high) performance and classmate Mia Becker finished the game and had three stops.  Senior Marie-Philip Poulin finishes her BU career as the Terriers' all-time leader in goals (81), assists (100), and points (181).

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